If nothing else

If nothing else would convince you to vote for John McCain, then this should:

Justices Grant Habeas Rights to Guantanamo Detainees

In its third rebuke of the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners, the court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the American naval base at Cuba. The court’s liberal justices were in the majority.

Justice Kennedy, writing for the court, said, "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."

The idea of a President Obama appointing 2-3 more Justices like the five yutzes who came up with this decision (PDF) should give any rational person nightmares, and I wholly agree with the core of Scalia’s dissent: 

Today the Court warps our Constitution in a way that goes beyond the narrow issue of the reach of the Suspension Clause, invoking judicially brainstormed separation-of-powers principles to establish a manipulable “functional” test for the extraterritorial reach of habeas corpus (and, no doubt, for the extraterritorial reach of other Constitutional protections as well). It blatantly misdescribes [sic] important precedents, most conspicuously Justice Jackson’s opinion for the Court in Johnson v. Eisentrager. It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliens abroad absent statutory authorization. And, most tragically, it sets our military commanders the impossible task of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards this Court devises in the future, that evidence supports the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner. 

The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today. I dissent.

McCain was by no means perfect in the fight over judicial appointments in the Senate a few years ago, but he has promised to appoint judges and justices who recognize the courts’ limits and don’t try to seize control of federal policy in a time of war. My gut instinct is to take him at his word on this. But, even if he isn’t perfect again, he’ll be a darned sight better than what the Harbinger of Hope, Change, and Waffles would give us.

LINKS: More at Hot Air, Commentary (and here), Fausta, Jihad Watch, Sister Toldjah, Weekly Standard, and (for the Lefty view) The Nation.


2 Responses to If nothing else

  1. Matt Goodman says:

    Only two of the judges who ruled with the majority were appointed by a Democrat (Clinton appointed Ginsberg and Breyer). The other three were appointed by Ford, Reagan, and Bush I.
    The four dissenters were appointed by Bush II (Roberts & Alito), Bush 1 (Thomas), and Reagan (Scalia).
    So if you break it out by appointment:
    Concur: Ford, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton x2
    Dissent: Reagan, Bush I, Bush II x2
    If you were assuming things would break on party lines, it should have been 7 to 2 against.
    I don’t think you can make any assumptions about what a judge will do once he’s got that job for life. Obama will try to appoint lefties, certainly, but McCain’s got to pick people that’ll get through an approval process that’ll have a Democratic majority.
    Hugo Black is an excellent example of pre-appointment behavior not matching up with a voting record after his appointment. If you’re not familiar, look him up!

  2. As I wrote on my blog, McCain could – if he goes further – win the election on this issue alone. All he has to do is say that if he is elected, he will ignore this Supreme Court decision. He could use the spectre of Osama Bin Laden and his lawyers in Federal courts to beat Obama like a rented mule.

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